Botswana came back from a goal down to secure a 1-1 draw with Malawi on Wednesday evening and retain their place at the top of Group B in the Cosafa Cup.
The match at the old Peter Mokaba Stadium saw the Flames lead for over 80 minutes, only for the Zebras to fight back late on and secure a stalemate which keeps them on top of the log on four points, ahead of Mauritius, Angola (three points apiece) and Malawi (one point).
Malawi got off to a flying start and claimed the lead in the seventh minute, with Precious Sambani scoring with a shot from just outside the penalty area. Botswana goalkeeper Mwampole Masule was somewhat unlucky, with the ball taking a nasty bounce to stymie his effort to make a save.
It should have been 2-0 in the 13th minute, with Dalitso Sailesi providing a great delivery from a free kick to give Richard Mbulu a free header in the box, but the Flames’ number nine glanced the effort wide of the far post.
The Flames burned another great chance late in the half when Gustin Simkonda shrugged off a challenge from Tshepo Maikano, but he was unable to direct a shot on target with only the ‘keeper to beat.
Botswana were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men on the hour mark when Onkabetse Makgantai lost possession to his opposite number Sailesi and responded with an ugly, studs-up lunge into the Malawian midfielder’s shin. It was a challenge worthy of a red card, but the Zebras player only saw yellow.
The Zebras created a great chance to draw level with 12 minutes of regulation time remaining, as Thatayaone Kgamanyane picked out a great cross for Kabelo Seakanyeng, but the attacker was unable to direct his header beyond the reach of goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
However, Seakanyeng soon made amends to level the game in the 88th minute. He ran onto a flick-on from midfield, held off John Lanjesi and coolly beat the Flames ‘keeper to make it 1-1 and ensure a share of the spoils.
Botswana will look to seal top spot and a place in the quarterfinals when they take on Mauritius on Friday, while the other Group B game between Angola and Malawi will be played simultaneously.
Malawi (1) 1 (Sambani 7’)
Botswana (0) 1 (Seakanyeng 88’)
Malawi: Munthali, Mbulu, Namwera, Lanjesi, Sambani, Sailesi (Manyozo Jr 69’), Cholopi, Banda, Ngalande, Simkonda (Msowoya 80’), Chirwa
Botswana: Masule, Modingwane, Masole, Orebonye (Mohutsiwa 46’), Ramoraka, Seakanyeng, Modisaotsile, Makgantai (Kgamanyane 71’), Kebaikanye (Molefi 62’), Maikano, Kereedilwe